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2017 Hooks Field Staff


 

Manager

 

Rodney Linares, the 2015 Texas League Manager of the Year, begins his third season as Corpus Christi's field chief and his 11th campaign as a manager in the Houston system.

Under his leadership, the Hooks have gone 174-106 for a .621 winning percentage. In 2016, Linares picked up his fourth consecutive first-half crown. Corpus Christi opened with a 47-23 mark and finished the year a season-best 30 games over .500. Last year also featured a club-record 11-game win streak.

In 2015, Linares led the Hooks to a franchise-best 89-51 record. Corpus Christi racked up the most wins in Minor League Baseball, becoming just the second Texas League club in the last 20 seasons to reach 89 triumphs in a single campaign. The Hooks claimed the TL South first-half title thanks to 48-22 start, and ended the regular season by winning 22 of their final 34 games.

Since 1960, there are only five instances of a Texas League team posting back-to-back 80-win seasons, and Corpus Christi has accomplished this feat twice (2015-16 & 2012-13).

Linares, 39, was honored with a coaching assignment for the World squad during the 2015 All-Star Futures Game, played July 12 at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. He picked up career managerial win No. 500 July 24 at Dr Pepper Ballpark when Corpus Christi knocked off Frisco 9-3.

A member of the Lancaster JetHawks Hall of Fame, Linares has punched a playoff ticket in each of the past five seasons. During this span, his clubs boast a .583 winning percentage (408-292).

Linares entered the Texas League ranks following a successful three-year stint at Lancaster. The 2013 California League Manager of the Year captured the circuit's pennant in 2012 and 2014. During this run, the JetHawks compiled a 234-186 (.557) regular-season record and went 16-7 in postseason play.

In 2014, the California League champs won 44 of their 70 first-half contests and finished with a 78-62 mark, tops in the South Division. In 2013, Lancaster carved out an 82-58 record, winning the second half (43-27) by a nine-game margin. The JetHawks lost to Inland Empire in the division finals.

Linares' 2012 charges finished second in the Cal League South (74-66) and beat Lake Elsinore in the wild-card round. Lancaster took eight of its 10 postseason games, including a 5-0 run to cement the JetHawks' first title in the 17-year history of the club. Following the season, Linares managed the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League.

A 20-year member of the Astros organization, Linares skippered the Lexington Legends in 2010 and 2011. A Rookie Level Greeneville appointment (2007-2009) preceded his South Atlantic League stint.

Linares, whose managerial career began at the age of 29, enters 2017 with a 612-566 (.519) record.

Prior to managing, Linares tutored Lexington hitters in 2005 and 2006. Led by Hunter Pence, the '05 Legends ranked second in the circuit in runs, total bases and home runs. Linares served as a scout and hitting coach for Houston's Dominican Republic operations from 1999-2004.

Signed by the Tigers as a non-drafted free agent, Linares was a Gulf Coast League infielder for Detroit and Houston in 1997 and 1998. In the offseason, he serves on the field staff of Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican Winter League.

Rodney, who has two children, Steve and Ryan, resides in San Pedro de Macoris, DR. His father, Julio, is the Astros' advisor for Latin American development and has been a member of the Houston organization since 1973.

Rodney Linares' Career Managerial Record
Year Team League Affiliate Record
2007 Greeneville Appalachian Houston 17-51
2008 Greeneville Appalachian Houston 30-36
2009 Greeneville Appalachian Houston 27-40
2010 Lexington South Atlantic Houston 71-68
2011 Lexington South Atlantic Houston 59-79
2012 Lancaster California Houston 74-66
2013 Lancaster California Houston 82-58
2014 Lancaster California Houston 78-62
2015 Corpus Christi Texas Houston 89-51
2016 Corpus Christi Texas Houston 85-55
Totals (10 seasons)     612-566

 

Pitching Coach

 

Dave Borkowski is in his second year with Corpus Christi and his eighth as a pitching coach in the Astros system.

Last season, Borkowski's pitchers ranked among the Texas League leaders in saves (55, 1st), shutouts (15, T-1st) and ERA (3.49, 2nd). Hooks hurlers issued the fewest walks (345) while registering the second-most strikeouts (1,132) in the circuit. The 15 shutout victories stand as a Corpus Christi record.

Borkowski, a seven-year major league veteran, joined the Hooks following a three-year stint with Quad Cities, the Astros' Midwest League affiliate. The River Bandits went 88-50 in 2015, trailing only Corpus Christi (89-51) for the most wins in Minor League Baseball. Borkowski's staff posted a 1.15 WHIP and 2.65 ERA which slotted first and second, respectively, among full-season clubs.

During Borkowski's tenure, Quad Cities captured the 2013 Midwest League title, while River Bandits pitchers authored a 3.35 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .248 opponents' batting average and 30 shutouts.

Following the 2013 campaign, he was assigned to the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League where he instructed pitching prospects from the Astros, Mariners, Padres, Phillies and Royals systems.

Borkowski, 40, began his coaching career in 2010, working with Rookie Level Greeneville. The Michigan native was promoted to Class A the following season, spending 2011 and 2012 with the Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League.

Originally selected by the Tigers in the 11th round of the June 1995 draft out of Sterling Heights (Michigan) High School, Borkowski made 181 big league appearances (21 starts) over seven seasons with Detroit (1999-2001), Baltimore (2004) and Houston (2006-2008).

In 264 minor league appearances, spanning parts of 14 seasons, the right-hander posted a 79-70 record and 3.85 ERA within the Tigers, Orioles, Astros and Phillies organizations. Prior to retiring in 2009, Borkowski pitched in three games for the Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League.

Dave and his wife, Jill, make their home in Holland, Ohio.

 

Hitting Coach

 

Joel Chimelis, who tutored Hooks hitters in 2012, returns to Corpus Christi following a four-year run at Quad Cities.

A 12-year member of the Astros organization, Chimelis helped the River Bandits capture the 2013 Midwest League Championship. In 2014, Quad Cities tied for second in batting average (.261) and placed fourth in runs (656) in the 16-team circuit. A year later, the River Bandits rolled to an 88-50 record and a Minor League-best .638 winning percentage. Chimelis' hitters again ranked among the MWL leaders in batting (.265, 3rd) and runs scored (659, 2nd).

Prior to his initial stint with the Hooks, Chimelis served the Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League in 2011. He was at Tri-City (New York-Penn League) from 2006 to 2010. Chimelis' first two years (2004-05) as a hitting coach came with the Savannah Sand Gnats (Expos/Nationals) of the South Atlantic League.

Selected by Oakland in the 11th round of the 1988 draft out of the University of Texas, Chimelis played 13 years in the minor leagues, posting a career .288 batting average in 1,264 games and 4,553 at-bats. His other career numbers included 1,311 hits, 122 home runs, 667 RBIs and 99 stolen bases. Originally a shortstop, Chimelis played all four infield positions throughout his career.

Chimelis, 49, toiled for parts of three seasons (1992-94) in the Texas League with the Shreveport Captains, including all of 1994 when he led the circuit in doubles (43) and hit by pitch (13). Chimelis batted .295 that year with 10 home runs and 72 RBIs in 127 games, playing half the time at Fairgrounds Field - one of the most notoriously pitcher-friendly parks in league history.

A native of Brooklyn, Chimelis played portions of seven campaigns at the Triple-A level, including time with Phoenix, Norfolk and Dos Laredos in the Mexican Summer League. His playing career also included stops in Puerto Rico, Korea and Taiwan.

A shortstop with the Longhorns, Chimelis was named to the Southwest Conference All-Tournament team and the NCAA Central Region team in 1988. He also played collegiately at Howard Junior College in Big Spring.

Chimelis and his wife Carmen live in the Orlando area. They have three daughters - Adriana, Nicole and Gabriela.

 

Development Coach

 

Tommy Kawamura begins his second year as a member of the Astros organization. Last season, Kawamura served as a development coach for both Corpus Christi and Quad Cities. His charge is to guide and support player development initiatives across all areas of the game.

Kawamura, 24, was a baseball operations intern for the New York Mets in 2015. There he contributed to advance scouting reports for the major league coaching staff and ratified game reports for the Mets' minor league affiliates.

Kawamura earned a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Economics from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. The former infielder was captain of the Bearcats baseball team for two seasons and also played summer ball for the Atwater, California, Aviators and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Bandits.

During the summer of 2013, Kawamura served as an assistant coach for the American Legion Withnell Dodgers.

Kawamura became a video scout intern for Baseball Info Solutions following his graduation in May 2014.

Tommy currently resides in his hometown of Renton, Wash.

 

Athletic Trainer

 

Grant Hufford, the 2016 Texas League Athletic Trainer of the Year, embarks upon his third season with Corpus Christi.

A 10-year member of the Houston system, Hufford was honored with an assignment to the Arizona Fall League following the 2015 season. There he worked with the Glendale Desert Dogs, safeguarding prospects in the Astros, White Sox, Dodgers, Phillies and Pirates organizations.

Hufford joined Corpus Christi following a two-year stint at Class A Lancaster. The 2013 California League Athletic Trainer of the Year served at Low-A Lexington in 2011 and 2012.

His first post with the Astros was in 2008 at Rookie Level Greeneville. Hufford worked there through the 2010 season.

He came to the organization from the Lawrence Orthopedic Surgery Clinic in Lawrence, Kansas. In addition to his duties at the clinic, Hufford was the athletic trainer for Baldwin High School.

The 35-year-old received his bachelor's degree from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

Grant, wife Jennifer and their daughters, Genevieve and Emersyn, live in Merriam, Kansas.

 

Strength & Conditioning Coach

 

Dwayne Peterson enters his first campaign as Corpus Christi's strength and conditioning coach.

2017 marks Peterson's fourth tour in the Astros system. The 30-year-old has made one-year stops at Lancaster, Quad Cities and Rookie Level Greeneville since joining the professional baseball ranks in 2014.

A 2013 graduate of Northern Kentucky University, Peterson is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach. He also owns an SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment) Level 1 certification, and is a USA Weightlifting (USAW) Level 1 Sports Performance Coach.

Peterson played two seasons of Division I football as a wide receiver for Morehead State University. He then transferred to Northern Kentucky and earned a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science.

Peterson completed internships at NKU and The Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, where he currently serves as the head baseball strength coach in the offseason.

Dwayne and his wife, Candie, make their home in Erlanger, Kentucky.